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CNN Hits Primetime Low as Ratings Suffer After Controversial Trump Town Hall

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May 23 2023, Published 8:00 p.m. ET

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CNN is taking a hit in viewership after sparking controversy over their town hall interview with former president Donald Trump, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The latest Nielsen ratings show the week from May 15 to 21 garnered only 371,000 viewers in primetime, marking the network's worst in this category since May 2014.

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And that wasn't the only steep decline they faced. CNN averaged just 73,000 viewers with the prized A25-54 demographic in total day numbers for the week, a low dating back to July 2000.

Furthermore, CNN posted 58,000 viewers with A25-54 over the weekend, coming in at the lowest rated in the media network's history.

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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace? posted its worst telecast since launch, seeing declines of nearly 40 percent week-over-week in the younger demo. The Lead with Jake Tapper didn't perform optimally either, having its worst week with A25-54 dating back to July 2014.

As Radar previously reported, the Trump town hall moderated by CNN's Kaitlan Collins that aired on May 10 attracted 3.3 million viewers, giving the network a boost in ratings, even though insiders claimed it caused a stir at the network.

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Well-placed sources told RadarOnline.com that morale at CNN was at an "all-time low" as some staffers looked at the town hall event as nothing but a desperate grab for ratings after the network made headlines for the firing of former anchor Don Lemon.

Despite the public outcry, CNN CEO Chris Licht later praised Collins' "masterful performance" at the town hall during a 9am editorial call, stating that he couldn't "be more proud" of her ability to navigate the interview while fact-checking Trump amid audible reactions from the audience.

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Licht also addressed the backlash, according to former network personality Brian Stelter, who said Licht told staffers, "You do not have to like the former president's answers, but you can't say that we didn't get them."

Covering Trump is "tricky and messy," Licht reportedly told employees, "but it's our job." He doubled down, "America was served very well by what we did last night."

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